Budget Numbers Reveal Work Remains
New state budget projections of possible deficits in this fiscal year and next show two realities facing state policymakers:
- Connecticut’s economy is still in a very slow recovery
- We must keep streamlining state government’s costs and effectiveness, in order to avoid more tax increases that could harm our economy
To be sure, there are some promising economic signs. Connecticut is gaining back some of the jobs lost in the recent Great Recession (the next jobs report comes this Friday) with increases three months in a row.
Efforts of the Malloy administration and bipartisan actions in last fall’s Jobs Session of the legislature have also gotten things off to a good start to create jobs and renew business confidence in the state. This year, lawmakers should keep the momentum going.
Yet the new fiscal numbers also show that, despite the record tax increases passed in last year’s legislature, our economy is still not generating the economic “heat” the state budget depends on.
That’s why CBIA’s Government Affairs Program for 2012 states:
Keep the size and cost of state government within taxpayers’ means. Make government more efficient and control spending growth.
We recommend several ways to do that, including:
- Achieve cost savings (including at least the $260 million required by the state employee concession agreement) by adopting [reforms in] long-term care, corrections, government retiree benefits, municipal shared services and nonprofit provision of state-run community services.
- Continue to identify cost savings and efficiencies in all aspects of state government.
- Expand the use of lean and other efficiency strategies in state government.
Last year, the Governor directed all state agencies to find more efficiencies and he reduced the number of state agencies by 30% through consolidations and mergers. “Doing more with less … will ultimately give us a leaner, more efficient Connecticut,” he said.
To meet the present challenge,the Governor has already directed his budget director Ben Barnes to identify more cost savings to avoid a deficit.
But the latest budget situation underscores the importance of making sure that the process of using taxpayers’ dollars as wisely and effectively as possible is an ongoing one.
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